My workflow for creating gifs with trixels in Hexels Pro

I’ve been a huge fan of Hexels and I just got word that they’ve finally released Hexels Pro 2 today! You can get it here. I’ve been using a beta version of Hexels 2 for the past year and I’m a huge fan, it’s totally changed the way I make art.

To celebrate their official launch, I thought I’d share a bit of my workflow for creating gifs with trixel art by showing how I made this “Support Garage” gif for WP Engine.

commissioned trixel art for WP Engine

I usually start off with a few sketches. In this case I liked what I had almost right away, so I didn’t need to sketch for long.
Then I open up Hexels Pro and set up my trixel mode. I like starting with real simple shapes and laying out key elements on different layers.
mechanic-wip1-compressor (1)
Then I added the worker, which I quickly realized was totally the wrong scale… so I had to redo him.
After I’m happy with the basic look of my scene, I go in and start doing finer details. To do this, I go into Hexels and hit their “Subdivide trixels” option. This basically doubles the resolution. So I start with big fat trixels, lay out my piece, then double the detail so everything still fits on that original grid, but I can get a few finer details in.

Then I started adding bits of shading to my pieces (by drawing lines with lighter and lighter transparency. When the piece is ready, I animated a little welding effect by drawing yellow bits on the layer beneath the computer. When my animation is done, I then export it as multiple png files into Photoshop, where I add a little texture (I just think everything looks better with some texture) and export it as a gif.

Photoshop’s “Export to web” option gives me better gif sizes and control than exporting directly from Hexels, but even so I ALWAYS bring my final gifs into to really get that file size down. This piece went from 500k to 44k thanks to

Hope that helps, if anyone has any more questions (trixels, gifs, hexels, etc), please let me know. I’m also creating gifs for clients two days a week. So if you want a killer email header/featured image, hit me up!



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4 responses to “My workflow for creating gifs with trixels in Hexels Pro

  1. Alex Florescu Avatar
    Alex Florescu

    You may also want to give this tool a try also when it comes to GIF optimization


  2. DocPop Avatar

    Wow, I’m really impressed. I love Compressor, but have wanted the ability to batch compress for a while. I did a side by side comparison on a 1.7mb image and Short Pixel compressed it 73% vs Compressor’s 63%, but I felt the compression on Compressor was subtler. It would be kind of cool to be able to tweak the settings on SP to be able to lower the size without affecting the look too much. I just noticed y’all have a WordPress plugin too, I’ll try that out.

  3. Jason Baldwin Avatar
    Jason Baldwin

    Your trixel work is so inspirational! I love it.

  4. Alex Florescu Avatar
    Alex Florescu

    Hi, DocPop, thanks for your reply. If you want I could give you a demo account so you can test our plugin with enough credits to optimize your whole site. I would appreciate your feedback on it and also, if you want, maybe you write a review about it? Please let me know.

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